Breeding neon tetras

SnookusFish

Member
I set up a 20 gallon, moderately planted, temp 25°C/76°F,ph5.5,
This was far easier than i thought, anyone could do it.
I picked out a male and a very fat female from my community and put them in the 20 gallon when the sun was down already. I covered the tank with towels and left overnight. I started an infusoria culture. The next morning i opened my curtains so sunlight was on the tank, i covered only half the tank with an orange towel now. Within 5 minutes breeding behaviour displayed. 2 hoirs later and non stop puffs of eggs being produced. I will remove the parents tonight and the eggs should hatch within 36 hours.
 

BlackMolly99

Member
That's so exciting! what are you going to do with all the spawn?
I've never looked into breeding before, how many eggs are usually laid?
Please post pics of the babies!
 
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SnookusFish

Member
Hahaha i know!!! My dad couldnt believe it when they began spawning, hes had neons all his life in his dads tank and his one now and the parents i have in my tank are from his tank so he was in shock. Ill give my dad a load of the fry to bump his school up to 20 and ill keep about 20 or more temporarily until i can make some trades with my LFS hopefully. Its a lot easier than you would think and took less than 24 hours altogether. Try it! Honestly i'd say over 100 eggs but they are very hard to spot and count. They spawn little puffs of about 7 or more eggs at a time constantly for about 4 hours with the right lighting. I will definitely post pics when the eggs hatch
BlackMolly99 said:
That's so exciting! what are you going to do with all the spawn?
I've never looked into breeding before, how many eggs are usually laid?
Please post pics of the babies!
 

BlackMolly99

Member
So cool! can't wait to see pics!
 

Joshaeus

Member
Cool! I have never bred any tetras, but it sounds like you are on the right track Note that neon tetra eggs and young fry are light sensitive, so be careful letting direct sunlight strike the tank now that the eggs are present. PS...how do you determine the gender of the tetras? I have never been good at sexing any schooling fishes.
 
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SnookusFish

Member
Joshaeus said:
Cool! I have never bred any tetras, but it sounds like you are on the right track Note that neon tetra eggs and young fry are light sensitive, so be careful letting direct sunlight strike the tank now that the eggs are present. PS...how do you determine the gender of the tetras? I have never been good at sexing any schooling fishes.
Yep i have the tank completely covered. The female was easy to sex, massive tummy. The male was harder as it could just be a skinny female. It has a more straight body with a smaller stomach. I also noticed that when breeding the male's blie stripe changed to a super vibrant and dark blue

That is a male. Check out my other thread
"Is this a male neon" to see a photo of the pair together

Is this a male neon | Tetras 452243

So it has been about 24 hours now have only spotted a few infertile eggs but cant find any fry, im hoping they are just too small for me to see. There is nothing in the tank that could eat them so they should be there. I still have the tank covered so its hard to look. I have seen a few little white strands it looks like but not sure that is fry although it looks around the right size...


You can just about see that egg which i believe is fertile, it hasnt gone white.
If anyone knows how to spot newly hatched fry let me know. Also ordered brine shrimp eggs today off ebay
 

Joshaeus

Member
Fry of any kind are very hard to spot unless they are all concentrated in a nest (which obviously is not the case here). Just be patient, and start feeding the tank a little at about the time the fry would be free swimming.
 

chromedome52

Member
Usually egg scatterer fry will be seen clinging on the glass of the aquarium about 36 hours after hatching. They will be tiny clear slivers. Within another 24 hours they are swimming. Some species will group together shortly after this, making them a little easier to spot.
 
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SnookusFish

Member
Ok ill check again tonight, that will have been 36 hours and again in the morning. Ita hard to sleep cus the tank is next to my bed so i keep wanting to peek its so exciting haha

Joshaeus said:
Fry of any kind are very hard to spot unless they are all concentrated in a nest (which obviously is not the case here). Just be patient, and start feeding the tank a little at about the time the fry would be free swimming.
Its been 48 hoirs now but i still cant see any fry. Just wait it out and start feeding tomorrow?

chromedome52 said:
Usually egg scatterer fry will be seen clinging on the glass of the aquarium about 36 hours after hatching. They will be tiny clear slivers. Within another 24 hours they are swimming. Some species will group together shortly after this, making them a little easier to spot.
Okay it will have been 36+24 hours around 10pm tonight. If i check and see nothing is that a failure? If i check and see some do i feed them a little. Im really hoping to have some, so stressed, theres literally no reason why they wouldnt have been born, cherry shrimp arent meant to eat them! Fingers crossed everyone
 

Flyfisha

Member
Hi SnookusFish,
here’s a link to a gentleman that has helped me a lot. He explains how what to feed the newborns and how the culture it. And has his own idea on breeding this species.


Watch the 3 videos and better luck next time.

 
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SnookusFish

Member
Thanks, I've watched them already and it was very helpful in allowing my to get the neons to spawn. I have already got an infusoria culture like he did. S do you think these eggs failed? What could the reason be? The only other thing in tge tank is 3 cherry shrimp and a few baby pest snails...
Flyfisha said:
Hi SnookusFish,
here’s a link to a gentleman that has helped me a lot. He explains how what to feed the newborns and how the culture it. And has his own idea on breeding this species.


Watch the 3 videos and better luck next time.

 

Flyfisha

Member
Pest snails maybe? Definitely not the cherry shrimp. They are used by many of us the keep eggs clean in a breeding box etc . The cherry shrimp will clean any fungus from the eggs but not eat eggs.
This business with cherry shrimp may seem hard to believe having read things that written only today by some long time posters on this site.

i am so glad you have the culture running especially as you are so close.
 
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SnookusFish

Member
Flyfisha said:
Pest snails maybe? Definitely not the cherry shrimp. They are used by many of us the keep eggs clean in a breeding box etc . The cherry shrimp will clean any fungus from the eggs but not eat eggs.
This business with cherry shrimp may seem hard to believe having read things that written only today by some long time posters on this site.

i am so glad you have the culture running especially as you are so close.
Yes i thought that about the cherry shrimp. I have assassin snails in another tank that i had in this one too but too them out as they would definitely eat the eggs. Maybe if this fails ill leave them in for a week or two and then try again. I have just messaged marks aquatics with my situation so it will be interesting to see his opinion

It has been 4 days since spawning and so roughly 2.5 days since hatching althoigh i have yet to spot a single fry. Either they are good hiders or didnt hatch. I have no clue why they wouldnt have hatched though. Im going to give it 2 more days and then give up on this batch and make some changes then try again. If anyone has any experience of breeding neons in a moderately planted tank and trying to spot fry please let me know how long it took before you saw one.


Dont worry joshaeus hahaha. Im even more sad and if this wasnt enough i also just found out i only have female cherry shrimp so i cant start a colony
Its ok though i will try again in a frw day i i have no fry im just super confused as to what vould have happened to them and why i havent seen a single one... maybe ill try in one of those floating breeding things next time to make it easier to observe the eggs but then the neons might not spawn...
 

Joshaeus

Member
SnookusFish said:
Dont worry joshaeus hahaha. Im even more sad and if this wasnt enough i also just found out i only have female cherry shrimp so i cant start a colony
Its ok though i will try again in a frw day i i have no fry im just super confused as to what vould have happened to them and why i havent seen a single one... maybe ill try in one of those floating breeding things next time to make it easier to observe the eggs but then the neons might not spawn...
Believe me, I've had similar hassles breeding fish...particularly egg scatterers. I am very bad at telling when they spawn, and I seldom seem to get fry if I put the parents together for a day or two after conditioning them .
 
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SnookusFish

Member
Joshaeus said:
Believe me, I've had similar hassles breeding fish...particularly egg scatterers. I am very bad at telling when they spawn, and I seldom seem to get fry if I put the parents together for a day or two after conditioning them .
It could also be that the eggs wont hatch in my water due to hardness. I dot know the hardness but i have driftwood in the tank so that should reduce it. I cant use rainwater as it is spring bere and no rain for a long while ill figure it out in the end. There really isnt many articles about breeding neon tetras that ae detailed experiences, just some manuals basically and the odd i found fry in my tank. Nothing saying the exact timeline of spawning hatching swimming feeding
 

Joshaeus

Member
SnookusFish said:
It could also be that the eggs wont hatch in my water due to hardness. I dot know the hardness but i have driftwood in the tank so that should reduce it. I cant use rainwater as it is spring bere and no rain for a long while ill figure it out in the end. There really isnt many articles about breeding neon tetras that ae detailed experiences, just some manuals basically and the odd i found fry in my tank. Nothing saying the exact timeline of spawning hatching swimming feeding
Neon, cardinal, and green neon tetras all live in very soft, acidic water with virtually no KH or GH, very little dissolved solids of any kind, and very low PH in the 4's..the Rio negro, for example (from which cardinal tetras hail), has an average PH of 2.9 (!) to 4.2, and a TDS just over 5 ppm.
 
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SnookusFish

Member
Joshaeus said:
Neon, cardinal, and green neon tetras all live in very soft, acidic water with virtually no KH or GH, very little dissolved solids of any kind, and very low PH in the 4's..the Rio negro, for example (from which cardinal tetras hail), has an average PH of 2.9 (!) to 4.2, and a TDS just over 5 ppm.
jeez how do they not just dissolve lol. Im pretty sure my water is moderaltely soft but not certain, i ordered a test kit a few days ago

SnookusFish said:
jeez how do they not just dissolve lol. Im pretty sure my water is moderaltely soft but not certain, i ordered a test kit a few days ago
Does boiling or distilling water soften it?
 

Joshaeus

Member
It does. Other ways to do it include;
- Collecting rain water (I've done it...may want to pass it through activated carbon before using it)
- A reverse osmosis filter (I tried one of these once but couldn't get it to work)
- My current method (which works best with water that is already somewhat soft) is to set up a gallon jug with some DI resin in it, fill the jug with the dechlorinated water to be filtered, gently shake the jug for 30 seconds to mix the water and the resin, then let it settle and pour out the contents into a bucket through a fine brine shrimp net (to capture stray pieces of resin). In theory, since tannins are not particularly difficult for DI resin to remove, you could get the most out of these by 'recycling' old soft water if it has a lower TDS than your tap and you don't have a consistent supply of rainwater. The resin needs to stay wet, so I leave the jug with some water left in it when I am done with it.
- In a pinch, you can buy DI or RO water from a grocery store, either prebottled or from a dispensing machine. Check the TDS of the water before putting it in the aquarium.
 

chromedome52

Member
Rocks bad. Substrate not good. Filtration sucks up tiny fry.

Sorry, but if you want to breed them successfully, then you will have to set up the tank appropriately. Just using whatever display tank you have is not likely to work.
 

Joshaeus

Member
chromedome52 said:
Rocks bad. Substrate not good. Filtration sucks up tiny fry.

Sorry, but if you want to breed them successfully, then you will have to set up the tank appropriately. Just using whatever display tank you have is not likely to work.
I can see why the rocks and the filter would be a problem, but why is the sand an issue? Couldn't you just stir the sand when you do a water change?
 
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SnookusFish

Member
chromedome52 said:
Rocks bad. Substrate not good. Filtration sucks up tiny fry.

Sorry, but if you want to breed them successfully, then you will have to set up the tank appropriately. Just using whatever display tank you have is not likely to work.
What is wrong with the substrate? I have aquasoil in the back, the sand is only at the front. Also i have a stocking over the filter intake

Also can you explain how rock affects them? I didnt know that...
 

Joshaeus

Member
SnookusFish said:
Also can you explain how rock affects them? I didnt know that...
If the rocks are not inert, they could be leaching KH and GH into the water and hindering (or outright preventing) the eggs from hatching. In any case, it's harder to clean a tank that has a bunch of large rocks in it (and you are going to need to do a lot of cleaning on a fry tank...speaking from experience here).
 
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SnookusFish

Member
Joshaeus said:
If the rocks are not inert, they could be leaching KH and GH into the water and hindering (or outright preventing) the eggs from hatching. In any case, it's harder to clean a tank that has a bunch of large rocks in it (and you are going to need to do a lot of cleaning on a fry tank...speaking from experience here).
Oh right. I shouldnt do any water changes yet though incase i suck up fry though right?
 

Joshaeus

Member
That is a risk, but the more serious issue is that many newborn fry are sensitive to the kind of sudden parameter changes that water changes almost always bring on. I would use a turkey baster to remove waste from the tank daily for the first few weeks, and after that start with small daily water changes, slowly increasing their size.
 
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SnookusFish

Member
Joshaeus said:
That is a risk, but the more serious issue is that many newborn fry are sensitive to the kind of sudden parameter changes that water changes almost always bring on. I would use a turkey baster to remove waste from the tank daily for the first few weeks, and after that start with small daily water changes, slowly increasing their size.
Ok thanks, is it possible for me to use a floating fish hatchery with java moss to spawn them so i could onserve the eggs better or would it cause stress and they wouldnt spawn?
 

chromedome52

Member
A stocking just gives them something to get stuck on. The flow of a filter is bad for newly hatched Tetras. I don't even turn up the sponges above two bubbles per second until I see them up and swimming.

The substrate is too harsh. Yes, sand is usually too harsh for the eggs and larvae. Same thing with the rocks, the surfaces are not good for larvae. Also, most rocks are not inert. They will change the water chemistry, so it is best to not have them in the tank. Think of it as hard, rough surfaces vs. soft and/or smooth, like glass. Rocks also can provide crevices that fry can get jammed into and die. Since newly hatched larvae instinctively look for tight spaces to hide, it's basically a trap.
 
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SnookusFish

Member
chromedome52 said:
A stocking just gives them something to get stuck on. The flow of a filter is bad for newly hatched Tetras. I don't even turn up the sponges above two bubbles per second until I see them up and swimming.

The substrate is too harsh. Yes, sand is usually too harsh for the eggs and larvae. Same thing with the rocks, the surfaces are not good for larvae. Also, most rocks are not inert. They will change the water chemistry, so it is best to not have them in the tank. Think of it as hard, rough surfaces vs. soft and/or smooth, like glass. Rocks also can provide crevices that fry can get jammed into and die. Since newly hatched larvae instinctively look for tight spaces to hide, it's basically a trap.
Oh no! Should the filter be turned off?!?! I have seen breeding be done in small plastic tubs with no filter, just moss, should i consider that instead? Sorry i didnt realise that about the stocking. I will try and change things up a bit and take a different approach next time. But with all that surely some even just 1 or 2 fry should have made it, no?
 

Demeter

Member
A barren tank with nothing but live plants, a heater and a sponge filter is your best bet. Next to now flow from the filter until you see them swimming around. Live plants provide more than shelter, the idea is to provide food between feedings of infusoria until they are large enough to eat live foods like banana worms, vinegar eels, micro worms etc.

Getting fish to spawn is the easy part, hatching and raising is the hard part.
 

chromedome52

Member
It's still possible that some fry could make it. But they would have to survive a few weeks before they might be big enough to be noticed. Otherwise, as Demeter explained it is the best way to go.
 
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SnookusFish

Member
Ok thanks everyone, i'll let you know how it goes


new approach

It works! I only got a small spawn of around 20 eggs or so i would guess but its hood that it works. I can now improve this method as i made a lot of mistakes today which probably contributed to the small spawn. I can now observe these eggs as they are all together on the bare bottom, i removed the moss, and i will try again in a few days for a larger spawn,
stay tuned!

Huge update guys!!! I moved the neons back to the community and took about 1 hour to turkey baster all the eggs out of the tub, lets just say well over 20 lol i would guess 80+ i have them in a floating hatchery in the initial breeding tank and have them in the dark.
One question, i have been told that
cherry shrimp keepthe fungus off the eggs, should i put one in the hatchery?
 

chromedome52

Member
NO.
 
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SnookusFish

Member

chromedome52

Member
I don't believe a shrimp is going to ignore easy food. I heard similar claims some years ago concerning pillbugs and Killifish eggs. However, Killifish eggs have a much tougher casing than Tetra eggs, and I never talked directly to someone who had tried it, so even that is suspect.
 
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SnookusFish

Member
Ok so i am getting spawn basically daily but almost all the eggs are turning white as they are infertile. Why are they infertile and how can i fix that?



Update: i have been feeding the neons on baby brine shrimo and they love it and now i have 3 very gravid female neons. I will resume this project tomorrow and im going to get babies this time!!! Also my female black phantom tetra is super gravid too so that may be a future project
 

FishGirl115

Member
What are you gonna do with all the babies?
 
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SnookusFish

Member
FishGirl115 said:
What are you gonna do with all the babies?
So i am expecting a max of about 60 babies, more likely around 40 which would be perfect. I am going to raise them to the free swimming stage in the breeding tub until they are about 1-2 weeks old and eating bbs easily, then i will move all 40 to my 20 gallon planted untill they reach a big enough size to go in the 36 gallon community with the parents and a few other fish. I will probably move 12 to there and keep the 28 to grow out in my 20 gallon alone until i can rehome them or trade them with the fish store, keeping about 12 for myself
Edit: the numbers likely wont match these but its just an example, the community can take note if needed and ill figure it out either way

Ok a very quick and stress free transfer to the tub. I have java moss in the tub, a low power airstone just for overnight and a heating pad to keep temp at optimum 25°C. After spawning tomorrow morning I will update. I have a good feeling this time around, i think i have it figured out after a few tries and watching every video on youtube hahaha.

Update:its 9am here and i have just uncovered the tub. I am seeing breeding behaviour already and the female is jam packed with eggs.


So an hour later i wasnt seeing any spawning behaviour so i closed my curtains and directed a low power desklamp towards the tub from across the room which gives an orangey light, 30 seconds later and now they are spawning, i wish i could capture it but the light is so low you wont see anything and the eggs are tiny. I also dont want to stress them with a camera

Lets gooooooo!!!!!! I am elated and over the moon!!!! Thanks to everyone who has spoken in this thread and special thanks to Joshaeus and chromedome52 for the help. It has been 30 hours and i have just very quickly looked in and seen newborn fry wriggling when hit by the spotlight
I have the infusoria ready to feed them in a couple of days and also have the brine shrimp eggs ready to hatch, ill keep you posted.
 

FishGirl115

Member
Yay!

I also might be interested in purchasing some of your neons once they're ready. Depends on price though
 
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SnookusFish

Member
FishGirl115 said:
I also might be interested in purchasing some of your neons once they're ready. Depends on price though
Where do you live?
 

FishGirl115

Member
Michigan
 
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SnookusFish

Member
FishGirl115 said:
Well im from Ireland so i dont think tgat will works hahahah
 

FishGirl115

Member
Oh... Hahaha. That's funny. Guess not then

Too bad. I would love to buy them
 
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SnookusFish

Member
FishGirl115 said:
Too bad. I would love to buy them
It is, i love someone to buy them too lol. Hopefully my lfs but i plan on keeping all of this batch
 

FishGirl115

Member
Ah. Cool! Good luck!
 

chromedome52

Member
Major congratulations!! Now comes the HARD part, raising the fry!
 
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SnookusFish

Member
chromedome52 said:
Major congratulations!! Now comes the HARD part, raising the fry!
Oh i KNOW!!! i got my stuff ready, thanks

I have a decent amount of fry, i'm still keeping a towel over their tub and i did a small water change today. Once they get eyes i start feeding them, right?
 

chromedome52

Member
When they start bouncing off the bottom is usually a good time to start. Usually this is only an hour or two before they actually start swimming.
 
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SnookusFish

Member
chromedome52 said:
When they start bouncing off the bottom is usually a good time to start. Usually this is only an hour or two before they actually start swimming.
Ok thanks, right now they only wiggle when i put light on them so i might have to start feeding tomorrow

Also, is ambient lighting ok or do i still need to keep them in total darkness?
 

chromedome52

Member
I believe total darkness is better until they actually start swimming/feeding. Then slowly increase the light on a daily basis.
 
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SnookusFish

Member
chromedome52 said:
When they start bouncing off the bottom is usually a good time to start. Usually this is only an hour or two before they actually start swimming.
Ok they have started bouncing ofd the bottom like you said and have also developed eyes overnight so i gave a few mls of infusoria, is there any way to actually tel if they are eating when they are this small and the food is even smaller? I know in a few days time ill be able t see them darting towards food
 

chromedome52

Member
At this point you just sort of take it on faith that if there is food present, they will eat it. Good luck!
 

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